Rediscovering My Cultural Identity: Embracing the Taqiya, a Kazakh National Headwear

By Marat Raimkhanov, Student Financial Management

My journey with the taqiya, a traditional rounded cap, began during my early childhood. I vividly recall the sight of almost every grown man in my community proudly adorning a taqiya, a symbol of cultural heritage and identity. As a young child, I too had a smaller version of this headwear, specially crafted for children. However, as I grew older, I gradually abandoned the practice, only to recently rediscover the significance of wearing the taqiya and proudly embrace it once again.

During my formative years, the taqiya held little significance for me beyond being an accessory worn by the adults around me. As I transitioned into my teenage years, my focus shifted, and I became more engrossed in the trends and fashion prevalent in mainstream society. In this process, I inadvertently distanced myself from the cultural practices that once shaped my early experiences.

However, as time passed, I began to feel a sense of longing, a yearning to reconnect with my roots and reclaim my cultural identity. It was then that I decided to reintroduce the taqiya into my life. This decision was not only an act of personal significance but also a step towards honoring the traditions and values that had been instilled in me from a young age.

By embracing the taqiya once again, I found myself reconnecting with the rich tapestry of my Kazakh heritage. Wearing the taqiya symbolizes more than just a piece of clothing; it signifies a connection to my ancestors, their struggles, and their triumphs. It serves as a reminder of the values they held dear and the importance of preserving our cultural legacy.

Furthermore, wearing the taqiya has become a source of pride and a means of expressing my identity to the world. It is a visible representation of my Kazakh heritage and an invitation for conversations and cultural exchanges. As I don the taqiya, I invite others to learn about the traditions and customs that shape my identity, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diverse world we live in.

Rekindling my relationship with the taqiya has been a transformative experience. It has allowed me to reclaim a part of myself that was temporarily overshadowed by external influences. Through this simple act of wearing traditional headwear, I have rediscovered a sense of belonging, authenticity, and self-expression.

As I reflect on my personal journey with the taqiya, I am reminded of the importance of preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage. Our traditions and customs are the threads that weave together the fabric of our society. They connect us to our past, guide us in the present, and shape our collective future.

So, as I continue to wear my taqiya with pride, I hope to inspire others to embrace their own cultural symbols and traditions and embark on a journey of rediscovery, as we find strength, unity, and a deeper understanding of ourselves and one another through the revival of our cultural heritage.